Disclaimers I own no-one, Shane does
Rating – R
Summery – Frank gets caught up in one of the worst disasters in US history.
Window On The World
"Jake! Alex! Do you two want to spend some time in New York?" asked Frank
"Yeah, what's going on?" asked Jake.
"I have got to attend some briefings which could last for two days. While I am doing that I want you two to find out all you can about this Clements case. We know he lived in NY for ten years. I want to know where, what he did, who he did it with and why he left so suddenly" said Frank
"But I can find all that out from here" replied Cody.
"I know that but it will be better to do it on spot. Jake and Alex can talk to people, go places which we cant do here. This case is important and I need answers" said Frank.
"When do we go?" asked Jake.
"Tonight, we will be back on Wednesday. That also gives you two free nights to do what you want"
They all left the office and arranged to meet at the airport about 7pm, an hour before the plane took off. Alex was hoping to get some shopping in as well, there were a few shops that you could only find in NY and Jake....well he just wanted to go to a few clubs.
They arrived at their hotel in NY about midnight after the three hour flight, with rooms next to each other. They were all tired and went straight to bed, arranging to meet in the lobby at 7.30 am.
"So where are you having this briefing?" asked Alex "Do we meet up for lunch?"
"We can" replied Frank "I am meeting a Mr Jones in the Window on the World restaurant in the WTC at 8.30 this morning, should be finished about 1pm, you can meet us there. He won't be back till 2pm, that okay?" asked Frank.
"Yeah that's great, never been up those towers before. They reckon you can see for 50 miles on a clear day" said Alex "Okay Frank see you there"
About 12.30pm they got off the train and walked up the stairs to the shopping mall. It was huge and full of all the known named shops, Gap, Banana Republic and the American Café and then on through revolving doors to the first floor of the north tower.
"So where do we go?" asked Jake "What floor is the restaurant on?"
"Here is a plan of the place. We go up to 78 and then change elevators to take us to 107" replied Alex.
"107th floor...geez I hate heights" said Jake.
"You coward, its safe enough, come on" she said.
They got off at 78 and walked round to the other elevator banks and finally arrived at the restaurant. They told the man who met them that they were meeting Frank Donovan and he took them over. Frank was sitting at a window table looking out at the view.
"Hey you got here, so what do you think of the view?" he asked.
"Wow it's fantastic...have a look Jake" she said.
"It's okay, I'll just have a drink" Jake replied.
Frank looked at him and Alex told him that Jake didn't like heights. The man smiled at Alex and then spoke to Jake.
"One of my agents scared of heights, we cant have that. What happens when you have to go into a tall building?" he asked sarcastically.
"I'm okay normally, I swear. Not many buildings are this high up" he said.
They laughed and ordered a meal. Alex told Frank what she had found out about Clements and that they were going over to Brooklyn that afternoon to see someone who knew the man, then back to the library where some documents would be ready for them to look at.
"Okay, well I am not sure what time I will be back, this could take longer than I anticipated" said Frank "If I am not just go and enjoy yourself, I will see you in the morning"
"You not going to a club then?" asked Jake.
"No, I'll be too tired if this doesn't finish till late. Don't worry about me, I will be fine. A snack in my room, a shower and tv, suits me fine"
He was right and actually got back to the hotel about 10pm. He was shattered and didn't even bother about the TV. Just had a snack and shower and laid down on the bed and was asleep in minutes. About 3am he had got up to get a drink and heard the other two come in, laughing and giggling. Smiling to himself, he guessed they had had a good time, he just hoped they would be fit later that day. About 7.30am he met them in the lobby and shook his head at the state of them.
"Well you two look the picture of health, hope it was worth it" he said.
"Don't shout Frank" said Alex holding her head.
"I wasn't" replied Frank "I will meet you about 3pm, that's when I am finished today and then we will all go out for a meal, that is if you are still with by then"
Alex and Jake grimaced at him. They had drunk quite a bit in the clubs the night before and were suffering for it and didn't appreciate the sarcastic comments from Frank at that time of the morning. Frank got a cab to the WTC and they left to go to the government offices where they were meeting a Mr Appleton who had some information on their case.
Going up to the Window on the World, Frank ordered a coffee and sat down near the window and waited for the other man. He was a bit early and enjoyed the view. It was a beautiful summers day, clear blue sky and he was sure that he could see further than he had the day before. He looked at his watch, it was 8.30am.
By 8.45am he was looking at some papers that would help him find and convict Amando, the renegade or whatever you wanted to call him from Bolivia. This was what he had been waiting for and was something he had to do alone.
Suddenly there was a sort of boom and the whole building started to sway to one side, ceiling tiles came down, the lights flickered and went out. Frank and the other man, Ted, hit the floor as the whole place seemed to come apart. After what seemed an eternity, the building seemed to straighten but started to fill with smoke.
"What the hell was that...an earthquake?" shouted Ted
"Sounded more like a bomb" replied Frank.
Frank had got up and saw most of the windows on their side were gone, shattered. Looking across the room, he saw that a few were still intact and running over, looked out to see black smoke and flames rising from below them.
"Somethings happened below us, I'll try the phones" he said
He tried phoning Alex or Jake, they might know something. He couldn't get through to them so phoned Cody.
"Cody has anything been on the news yet about a bomb in the WTC?" Frank asked "Something just shook the building"
"Hang on, I haven't got the TV on....Oh my God....Frank you had better get out of there...a plane has flown into the north tower, massive hole and fire" he said
"God...look I'll ring you as soon as I am out okay" said Frank "Come on let's get out of here, it's a plane that has hit us" he shouted "Which way?"
Ted hurried over, holding a napkin to his face and pointed to the direction of the elevators. There were not many people on that floor, most had not arrived yet but those that had were either dead or hurt, some of them laying by the elevator banks.
"My God what the hell size plane was it?" said Ted
"Well we wont get down that way, the elevators are not working" said Frank "Which way to the stairs?"
Just then two men came round the corner, gasping for breath. Frank grabbed one of them as he held onto the wall. He noticed that he had burns on his face and hands.
"A plane....crashed into our office...no-one left...stairs are gone...all dead" he gasped and then fell to the floor.
Frank felt his pulse but shook his head, he was gone. Fear suddenly filled him as he realized that they were in a dangerous position and might not even get out of there.
"Ted...if the stairs are gone this way, is there any other way out?" he asked.
"I can't remember, never been any other way....how was he burned like that" he asked.
"Well I think that is pretty obvious, that explosion we heard was the plane hitting the building, lets hope it was a small one" said Frank "Come on, let's help these people"
They went round the other corner of the restaurant and found the other stairwell. It was full of smoke but it seemed passable. Trouble was after only going down two flights they found it blocked with debris and they had to go back up a flight and through the door and back to where they started from.
Looking down another corridor, they found it was pitch black, no lights, no sprinklers, just smoke and a smell of burning fuel. Going into one of the offices, Ted rummaged about and came out with a couple of torches and gave one to Frank.
Suddenly the building shook again and they thought it was going to go this time but the shuddering slowed and they breathed a sigh of relief for the moment. Going along the corridor they found another door which led to the other stairwell. Unknown to them, another plane had hit the south tower.
This was empty and they hurried down. Reaching the 100th floor, they discovered that the drywall that protected the stairs was gone and they could see right into the offices. Flames were licking up the walls and the whole place looked like a bomb site, with a gapping hole in the side of the building.
They were about to carry on when Frank heard a sobbing coming from his right. It was quite dark with the smoke and he shone the torch round to see where the noise was coming from. Ted shouted at him to hurry.
"Ted, go on with these people, I'll be there in a minute, there is someone in here" he shouted back.
"Leave them...we have to get out of here...NOW" a man hollered.
Frank ignored him, if there was someone here, they needed help. He looked around with the torch and spotted a bottle of water sitting on a chair, where it had been blown he supposed. Picking it up, he poured some of it onto the napkin he held and placing it over his mouth, he climbed over the debris to where the sobbing was coming from.
"If you can hear me, call out" he shouted shining the torch around.
"Over here....I can't move" came a woman's voice.
Frank climbed over some more debris and gasped as he almost stepped on a body. Then in the torchlight, he saw a young woman, laying by a cupboard. Her legs were caught under a filing cabinet. He reached her and could see the relief in her eyes.
"Are you hurt anywhere?" he asked.
"I don't think so, just cuts and its hard to breathe but I can't move this thing" she said coughing.
Frank handed her the napkin while he tried to lift the filing cabinet. It was heavy but he managed to move it off her legs and then helped her up. She swayed a bit because of the smoke and he wrapped his arm round her and led her over the debris to the corridor. Ted and the others had gone.
Grabbing a scarf laying on the floor, Frank soaked it in water and held it over his mouth, he was having trouble breathing too now and it helped a bit.
Back at the government offices, Jake and Alex were studying the paperwork the man had given them, when someone came rushing in shouting that a plane had crashed into the WTC. He turned the TV on and all of them watched in shock as they saw the tower burning, a great big hole in one side.
"Oh my God...Frank is up there" shouted Alex "What tower is that?
"The north tower...oh damn look at it" said one of the women.
"What floor is that happening on?" she asked.
"Hard to say from here...about 100 I would think"
"Damn, Frank is in the restaurant on 107, above all on"
They dropped what they were doing and rushed out, trying to hail a cab to take them to the WTC. Sirens were screaming all around them and they saw fire engines and police heading in the same direction as them.
"Maybe he is not up there yet" said Alex.
Alex looked at her watch, it was 8.55am.
"He will be, one thing about Frank, he is never late. Look, there, you can see it now" said Jake
The cab ground to a halt and they paid the man and getting out ran the rest of the way to the tower. Just as they got to Vesey Street, there was a roar of a jet engine and looking up, they saw a second plane plough into the south tower. Flames, building and other stuff rained down, it looked like a tic-a-tape parade.
"OH MY GOD!" shouted Alex.
Getting close to the north tower, a policeman stopped them from going any further.
"But our boss is in there" said Jake.
"I am sorry but no-one is being allowed any closer unless authorized" he said "Too much stuff falling from the buildings"
Jake and Alex showed them their ID cards and after an argument, he allowed them through and told them to report to one of the officers in the lobby of the north tower. Paper was still coming down and pieces of metal as they ran towards the tower. Just then what sounded like an explosion to their right made them stop dead and then another bang.
"Oh shit" said Alex turning away.
It turned out to be people hitting the concourse from either falling or jumping from the top of the towers. They ran into the lobby along with firemen and police. There were also crowds of people running out of the building through the other doors.
They reported to the officer in charge and he told them that they were doing all they could to get everybody out of the building. They could help in the lobby but they didn't want them going up the towers.
"I'll try sending Frank a text, can't get through on the phone itself" said Jake.
Frank and the woman, whose name was Kate, made their way down the stairs, pushing back the dry wall that was left and barring their way to the side and managed to make it down to floor 92. They were exhausted because of the smoke and burning that was getting into their lungs, throats and eyes. What they couldn't understand was why they had seen no-one else so far, unless they had gone down already.
"I have to stop" said Kate "I feel dizzy"
"Me too...stay here, I'll see if there is any more water anywhere in this office" said Frank.
He had to lean on the door for a moment, fighting the blackness that threatened to take him, he could hardly breathe. Shining the torch around, he found a shopping bag on the floor, its contents laying around. There were two bottles of water in there and he took them. Just as he was going to go back to Kate, he climbed over some of the ceiling tiles and lights that were on the desks etc and went to the window which was intact and looked out.
From where he was he could not see much, but there was a lot of paper and stuff still falling from above him. Looking down he could see fire engines and police cars all over the place.
"Looks like they have it in hand, there are firemen out there, we should be okay" he said to the woman "Here drink some of this and pour the rest on the cloth"
"Thanks..." she said crying.
"Hey come on, we'll get out of here" said Frank putting his arm round her.
"I hope so...some of my colleagues are dead and the others just left me, panicked I suppose...what the hell happened"
"Someone said a plane hit the building" replied Frank "But I don't really on we have to get going that smoke is getting thicker"
He didn't want to tell her the exact condition of the place; he was scared for both of them.
Burning kerosene was pouring through the building and igniting anything that would burn, making it hard to see and breathe again. Just as they were going down another flight of stairs, Franks phone bleeped. Taking it out of his pocket, he shone the torch down.
"Your phone is working" she said.
"No just a text message....just from my team who are down stairs "
Jesus he said to himself as he read it (Both towers have been hit by jets, both burning....you have to get out of there....we are in the lobby...Jake) So it wasn't a little plane and no accident, he thought.
They stood up and started walking down the stairs, checking and calling out on each floor to see if anyone else was about. They found two other people but the rest seemed to have already gone. After a while they reached 78 where the sky lobby was. There was carnage on this floor, bodies and debris, parts of the walls laying everywhere. A man was trying to fight a small fire with a hose but it was getting out of control.
"Come on, leave it, we have to get out of here" said Frank "You won't stop it now"
"But what about the others coming down" he said.
"I don't think there are any more people coming down" Kate said.
"Where did the rest of the people go?" asked Frank
"Down these stairs but it is filling up with smoke again" replied the man.
The man looked at them in the semi-darkness and put the hose down, tears rolling down his face, realizing the enormity of the situation. Turning the corner, they found another stairwell that seemed to be fairly clear of smoke and they hurried down, stopping for breath every so often. Looking at his watch, Frank saw that it was 9.35, it had taken them nearly an hour to get to the 40th floor.
Lights cut through the darkness and Frank saw fireman coming up the stairs, lots of them.
"Is there anyone else up there?" asked one of the fireman.
"We don't know" replied a man "There is only us coming down this way"
"Just keep going till you get to the lobby, someone will direct you from there" the fireman replied.
As they reached the 37th floor, they found other people going down the stairs, about ten in all and they carried on together. At about the 25th floor, there was a sound that none of them had heard before. A loud roaring sound, like hundreds of trains heading towards them. The building started to shake and pieces of masonry and metal fell from above as the noise got louder.
"What is it....Frank?" shouted Kate.
"I don't know, get down, cover your head" he shouted.
Everyone hung onto the stair-rails and walls as the building shook, some were knocked down the stairs and others were hit by masonry. Frank was knocked down by some steel and he lost his grip on Kate.
The sound seems to pass them, bringing a rush of air, dust and smoke into the stairs from somewhere, knocking them down the stairs to the landing bit at the bottom. Gradually the noise and shaking stops and the dust started to clear although it was still pretty dark.
Those who are okay, get up and start to run down the other stairs, leaving the ones that were hurt behind. The man who used the hose was dead, hit by a large piece of masonry. Frank had bits of rubble on him adding to the cuts he already had. Kate was laying at the bottom of the stairs, not moving. He ran down to her and felt her pulse, she was alive but unconscious. Taking out the bottle of water, he tried to bring her round but to no avail. Lifting her up, he carried her down about twelve flights of stairs before she started to wake up. Laying her on the floor he gave her some water. She started coughing again and he held her to him till she calmed down.
"You alright...can you carry on" he asked
"Yeah I think so...how far have we got to go?" she asked
"About another thirteen floors, shouldn't take long, then we will be out of here"
"Let's hope it is lucky huh. Any idea what that noise was...not another plane?" she asked.
"I have no idea...whatever it was we seem to be okay for now, come on...I'll buy you a meal when we get out of here" he said
Back in the lobby of the north tower, firemen had gone up to where the fires were and people were still coming out, albeit not so many now. Alex and Jake were helping to co-ordinate some of the people with the help of the firemen when the building started to shake.
"DOWN....EVERYBODY DOWN" shouted a fireman running in the door
Everyone ran for cover as debris started to fall from the ceiling and they thought it was their building that was falling. The noise was incredible and most covered their ears to drown it out. Dust and smoke poured in, choking them as the whole place became dark as night. As the sound stopped, someone shouted to see if everyone was alright.
Voices called out from around the lobby. After a few minutes a glimmer of light filtered through along with the light from torches.
"Come on, quick as you can out of here" shouted a fireman "Control to all fireman....GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT"
Suddenly water started pouring down the stairs, making it even harder to walk down.
"I can't keep going" said Kate sitting down.
"Come on, we have to" said Frank "Only another ten floors"
In reality he felt exhausted, dizzy and didn't feel like walking another step. He reminded himself not to go in any other tall buildings in future. But as normal his determination kept telling him to keep going. He took out his phone and in the light of the torch, sent a text to Alex to say that he was ok and would be out soon. The other four people with them, carried on while Frank stood up and putting his arm round Kates waist and her arm round his neck, they carefully walked down the stairs.
Managing to get to the lobby of the north tower, Frank and Kate found the others from their torchlight, still wandering around. There was no-one else to be seen although voices could be heard shouting through the darkness but they could not see them. A glimmer of light could be seen through the dust and smoke and Frank grabbed the others and they headed for that.
"It looks like the outside over there, keep hold of each other and keep walking" he said.
They could hear these explosions outside and wondered what they were but didn't care to that extent; they would be out of the tower. As they went through the doors, they stopped dead. It was too dangerous to even attempt to get out that way. Tons of rubble blocked the way to the Plaza along with glass, fires and stuff was still falling. Kate screamed as another explosion to her left made her look round and she saw what was causing them. She grabbed Frank and hung onto him as he looked over. They were people, people who had jumped from above.
"What do we do?" asked one man choking on the dust.
"Well we can't go that way" said Frank "we could be killed by 'stuff' falling from the buildings. Let's keep close to the tower and go this way"
"Frank" said Kate "Over there is WTC 6, it's the custom house, we could go through there"
"Okay, you know this place better than me, let's try" he replied.
He had to grab the wall as his coughing started again and his eyes hurt like hell. Holding onto Kate, who in turn held onto the other man, they made their way over towards the other building. At that second, the noise that they had heard before started again, only this time it was horrendous, almost deafening them.
"What the hell is that?" shouted the man.
Kate looked up and screamed, making them all turn and look. The north tower was falling. They had seconds to run or be killed. With their last ounce of strength they ran, towards 6 WTC and through the door. The building was already on fire but surely it would be safer there than outside, they thought.
Even as they ran inside they realized their mistake, this building was in the path of the falling tower but it was too late to change their mind. All they could do was run and keep running.
The building was shaking, beams were falling, chunks of concrete and the noise was unbearable. Crouching down in a corner, the six people covered their heads and prayed, even Frank.
He thought of his parents, his team and the mess he had made of his life in those few seconds. It was true what they said, your life does flash before your eyes at the point of death. Kate started to say the Hail Mary out loud and they all joined in.
They all thought that the building they were in was going to be their tomb as the noise got louder and the debris fell even more. Suddenly the whole place seemed to collapse and the floor fell away, sending them down through the gapping hole.
Frank thought it felt like one of those roller coaster rides only slower and a lot more bumpy, knocking him against concrete or walls, he wasn't sure. Then he stopped and blackness followed.
Kate opened her eyes and found herself laying on her back, across some uneven rubble but she only found small pieces actually on her. Trying to move she realized that she hadn't even broken anything although her leg hurt like crazy. She started choking and her eyes stung but she seemed fine. Her hair was thick with dust and as she moved she got a face full which made her choke again.
Wondering what she was holding in her hand, she realized that it was a torch, somehow she had managed to keep hold of it. Turning it on she shone it around and saw through the dust one of the men also trying to sit up and then she saw Frank about ten foot away, not moving.
"FRANK...FRANK" she shouted as best she could.
There was no answer and despite the clouds of dust she made, she crawled over to him and brushed the stuff off his neck and felt his pulse. He was still alive although unconscious. Pulling him over, she wiped the dust off his face and tried to bring him round, they had to try and find a way out of there, somehow and there was no way he could be carried, they were all exhausted and hurt.
The other man crawled over, his ankle broken but in his pocket he still had a water bottle. Some how it had stayed intact and he handed it to Kate. She opened it and poured some over the mans face. Frank came round but started choking on the dust and with Kates help to lean over, brought up a load of gung that had got into his throat.
"Take it easy Frank....sip this...it's all we have" she said.
A few minutes later he stopped choking and sat with his head on his knees, Kate with her arm round him.
"We have to do something, we can't just sit here" said the other man who she found out was called Pete.
"By my reckoning" replied Frank in gasps "we have a tower on top of us and by the smell of it a fire above us as well. I don't know if we can get out. Who else is still alive?"
"Only you me and Pete....the others are either dead or buried, we can't see" she said.
"Jesus please help us" he said out loud
Jake and Alex were led through another door and out of the north tower with some of the firemen and other people that were left. They were told it was not safe for anyone other than the firemen to be in the building.
As they went outside, they thought it looked like what a nuclear winter would be. They were the opposite side to where the south tower had now fallen but the debris was two foot deep in places and they could not see what the other side looked like.
"Have you seen Frank at all?" asked Alex
"Not a sign but there are people coming out from all the exits, he could be safe" said Jake.
"Have you tried the text again?" she asked
"No I don't think it would get through now"
"Try please, if he is out of there he should get it" said Alex.
Jake took out the phone and looked at it. There was a text message waiting for him.
"It's from Frank...he says he is ok and should be out soon"
"When was it sent?"
Jake looked and told her ten past ten. That was fifteen minutes ago. He was still in the tower and they had no way of helping him. Alex saw a fireman nearby and ran to him and told him that Frank was still in the tower.
"Okay I'll radio through and get someone to find them. Don't worry if he is that far down he should be in the lobby soon. We'll find him even in this dust"
They went and stood at a safe distance away from the debris and still falling people. Alex couldn't watch any more, she was covered in dust as was Jake and felt sick. The whole situation was terrible and seemed unreal. Suddenly they heard a bang and a roar and looking up, saw the north tower starting to fall.
"RUN ALEX RUN" shouted Jake
They started to run with everyone else that was there, over the north bridge towards the winter garden, followed by a huge cloud of dust and debris. Jake passed a small shop that was locked but breaking the window of the door, pushed it open and ran inside followed by several other people just as the cloud reached them and passed them. It was eerily silent, like a ghostly hand covering everything in its path. Some of it came in the door and they had to cover their faces. But gradually it stopped and settled and they ventured outside after soaking cloths in water and using them as masks.
Looking across the bridge they saw nothing of the towers, just a pile of debris, dust and smoke everywhere. Anyone in that building was now dead, no-one could survive that. Alex was in tears along with everyone else, knowing they might just have lost another boss and good friend.
Firemen were racing to the scene from all over as were other people who could help to find anyone that was still alive under all that rubble.
The pile was something like 80ft high, burning twisted metal and rubble. Other buildings in the immediate area were either crushed or on fire. Jake and Alex grabbed two helmets and putting them on, raced across the bridge or what was left of it to the scene to see if they could help.
"Frank you have helped me and the rest all the way down...don't give up now...I want that meal you promised me" said Kate "Come on let's try please"
She leant over and kissed his cheek to encourage him. She could understand how he felt, she did as well but they had survived this far it would be pointless to give up now. He took her hand and the torch and shone it around. The dust was settling a bit and they could see a bit further. It seemed that two large girders were holding up the ceiling in this part of the building but through a gap they could see red flames roaring above them.
"Look over there, is that a glimmer of light?" asked Pete
"It could be...carefully now...lets try and move over there" said Frank.
Crawling through and over the rubble, they reached the point of light and found that it was coming from above them, they estimated about 4 floors up. Frank was fighting passing out again and fell against some of the rubble. Kate went over to him and took the torch and looked at his head. She found a large gash on the back which was bleeding.
"Take it easy Frank you're bleeding....Pete give me your tie that you put in your pocket" asked Kate
The man handed it too her and she wrapped it round Franks head which stopped the bleeding a bit. Just then he keeled over making her gasp.
"Is he okay?" asked Pete
"He will be if we can get out of here. If I hold the torch see if his phone is in that pocket" she said.
Pete felt around and found the mobile. Holding it carefully, Kate found that it was still working....God knows how but it was....she got Pete to hold the torch while she typed out a message and sent it to the last person who rang it before and hoped that they could do something.
"We'll wait and see if anything comes back, if not we will have to try and get up there.
The other two were trying to help at one end of the disaster area when Jake felt the phone vibrate in his pocket. He took it out and looked and then ran to one of the officials nearby. Alex followed.
"SIR....SIR...there are people still alive...I just got a text" he shouted
"Whoa...calm down, now say that slowly" said the chief fireman.
Jake handed him the phone and the man read the text "THREE MAYBE MORE IN 6 WTC....FIRE ABOVE US BUT ALSO SKY....KATE, FRANK, PETE....HELP US PLEASE"
"JOHN...OVER HERE" he shouted.
The man ran over and the fireman showed him the text.
"Get some men together and follow me over to 6 WTC, lets see if we can save someone out of this horror. They say there is sky above them and also the fire...so on this plan they must be somewhere in this corner gauging by where the fire is from here" he said.
"We're coming with you" said Alex but Jake held her back
"You stay here, its too dangerous. If there is any way of getting them out we will...Right men lets go"
"We'll stay here for a while, that dust is settling a bit and that sky is getting brighter....someone must have got that message by now" said Kate as she held Frank.
"And if they didn't, we should be trying at least" said Pete.
"We could die anyway if we shift any of that stuff...we could be crushed or burned to death...we wait...at least for a while" she said
Pieces of furniture and wood started to fall behind them and it was burning making breathing even more difficult. Pete had stood up and managed to pile some loose stuff up and was attempting to stand on it and see if he could reach up but it was no use.
A few minutes later they thought they heard voices from above them but couldn't be sure. They listened and sure enough they heard someone shouting.
"DOWN HERE.....PLEASE HELP US" shouted Pete
Nothing! They shouted again and then Kate found a piece of metal that laying beside her and handed it to Pete.
"Try banging it on that pipe hanging down" she said "They might hear that"
Pete banged on it three times, left it a second and then again. He kept this up for about three or four minutes. Then they heard a voice.
"BANG AGAIN, WE CAN HEAR YOU"
Pete banged a few times and then a hazy head appeared above them as a fireman peered down into the darkness.
"Thank God" said Kate
"ARE YOU HURT? HOW MANY OF YOU?" the man shouted
"I HAVE A BROKEN ANKLE AND THERE IS A MAN UNCONSCIOUS BUT OTHER THAN THAT WE SEEM OKAY" shouted Pete
"DON'T WORRY WE'LL HAVE YOU OUT OF THERE IN A FEW MINUTES"
Pete relaxed a bit knowing they would be safe soon, he went over to Kate who was holding Frank in her arms. The gash was still bleeding and he needed help.
"How is he?" he asked
"Not good I don't think. He can't die now, he has helped us all the way down and now this...it's not fair" she said crying.
"Look they are coming down...hang on Frank" Pete said.
The firemen had rigged some ropes round part of the building outside and two of them were coming down to them. Reaching the bottom, they untied themselves and shouted up to the others to get ready.
"We have very little time, this building is ablaze above us and could collapse at any time. Come on" he said to Kate "You go first, I'll see to this man...what's his name?"
"Frank...he helped us all the way down, don't let him die" she said.
"He'll be fine....go on and then you Sir"
The man put a harness around Frank and hooked it to his own equipment. He signaled to the men outside and they started to pull them up. Outside the firemen unhooked Kate and started to pull her away but she wouldn't go.
"I won't go without Frank...leave me" she said.
With help they got Frank outside and unhooked him from the fireman and laid him on a stretcher that was waiting. Kate took his hand just as the firemen shouted that the building was going. They ran as fast as they could over the debris to the waiting ambulance in Vesey Street.
Behind them they heard an explosion as the inside of the building imploded but some of the outside seemed to stay put.
Jake and Alex saw them come out and ran over to the ambulance where they saw Frank laying on the stretcher.
"Frank...is he okay?" they asked looking at him.
"He will be fine if we can get him to hospital....you follow us up" said the ambulance man.
They shut the doors leaving them to try and find a way to the hospital, as their were no cabs or anything. At least their boss was alive, how they didn't know but he was.
Once at the hospital, they took him straight into crash because they thought they were going to lose him. Kate and Pete were taken to be cleaned up and their eyes and throats cleaned out of all the dust and stuff. It took quite a time before they were able to see better and were given plenty of water to drink to help clear it out of their system.
"Do you know how Frank Donovan is?" Kate asked the nurse
"No but I will find out for you?" she said "Just keep drinking that water"
Frank was taken to x-ray but had no fracture so they stitched him, replaced the blood he had lost and put him on a drip. Clearing the stuff out of his throat was a job beings he was still out. Once that was all done he was moved to a room where Kate was allowed to go and sit with him.
She held his hand and for the first time actually saw what he looked like, back in that tower it had either been dark or full of dust and smoke. He was a very handsome man she thought. There was a TV in the room and she turned it on to see what had happened.
The news channel were doing reruns of the events that morning and she was shocked at what she saw. Tears streamed down her face as the reality of what they had been through suddenly hit her. Two planes had hit the towers and both of them had gone, just piles of rubble and twisted metal.
They reckoned that over 300 firemen had died and over 50 police officers, an estimated 5000 people could have been killed. She couldn't believe it and shook her head. Just then a hand touched her, turning round she saw that Frank was awake.
"Thank God...I thought we had lost you" she said.
"Takes more than that to kill me" he said.
When she looked she saw that tears were rolling down his face and he admitted he had been a wake for a few minutes and had seen the last re-run of the towers collapse.
"We really got out of that?" he asked.
"Yes....I wouldn't have done if you had not helped me up there....thank you" she said
Those words seemed to break a barrier and for the first time he broke down in front of someone. Kate sat on the bed and held him, both crying and thankful that they were alive but tremendously sad that all those people had died.
Jake and Alex had arrived and looked in the window of his room and saw what was happening. Jake was going to burst in but Alex stopped him.
"No leave it....we'll see him later" she said crying "We still have him, that is the main thing. We can't imagine what they went through in there, we just have to be there for him when he needs us"
"I'll try and phone Cody, let him know he is okay....hey where are you going?" Jake asked
"To see if I can help in any way....they are going to need all the help they can get down there....we'll leave a note for him, he'll understand"
When the tears subsided a bit, both Kate and Frank laid there and watched what was going on at what they now called 'Ground Zero' not believing any of it except that they had been there and survived it.
Might do a sequel to this!